Imperialism derives from the Latin, imperium, which means to rule over large territories. Historically it has taken many shapes and forms. From the Assyrians to the Greeks to the British one constant is that the imperial state denies it is imperial. It finds a set of euphemisms to obscure its intentions. Often the conquest of another country is cloaked in humanitarian rhetoric. Women are being abused; we must save them. Children are being exploited; we must rescue them. The other technique is to defeat an unmitigated evil. A propaganda system insures that the population of the aggressor state is bombarded with messages that make them feel good about what their armies are doing. The propaganda exaggerates and lies about the dangers posed by the country being attacked. Ancient history? Hardly. Think of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
Second Program: Noam Chomsky – On Imperialism
"Our fingers will be in every pie," declared Sen. Robert Taft. "Our frontiers today are on every continent," announced JFK. And indeed it has come to pass. In mainstream media and scholarship it has been rare to find the noun imperialism preceded by the adjective American. The cover for aggression is cloaked in the lofty rhetoric of democracy, nation building and humanitarian intervention. Alan Murray, CNBC Washington Bureau Chief wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "We are all, it seems, imperialists now." He might be speaking for the elites that run America not for voices of conscience like Noam Chomsky. Interviewed by David Barsamian.
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